Football returned to the PAT Stadium after a month of intense, thrilling international footballing achievement thumb twiddling, with Port welcoming arguably our second most hated team, the Hornbills of Chainat. Regulars on the away terraces and this fine website might remember the away fixture earlier this season which resulted in a barrage of boos and harassment at the final whistle. At the time it felt like the lowest point of our season. Hoping this would serve as a constant reminder, and after the dismal showing at Prachuap, our boys needed to show some mettle. Another important factor was Police’s 4 goal capitulation to The Scum the night before, so a win was a must to keep up with the pace.
Errr yeah, so about that “win”… Jadet chose to stick with the team from Wednesday’s defeat and in the opening exchanges Port played some neat football with Pakorn (7), carrying a little extra timber after a month of R&R, confounding his critics and sending a dangerous cross over to Boskovic (23) who couldn’t control his header. Then after 20 minutes Kevin darted to the byline and pulled back to Boskovic only for him to be crudely bundled over by Chatchon (6). Hands were raised appealing for a penalty but the ball quickly spilled to Suarez whose shot was blocked and it seemed as if the penalty appeal had been forgotten about. The crowd, sensing injustice, started chanting “VAR, VAR” and the referee, clearly thinking about leaving the stadium upright, duly obliged and consulted the gogglebox before awarding the penalty.
Now, when Dragan asserted himself and took the ball from captain Rochela’s (22) hands, you had to be impressed with the confidence of the man; his talent hasn’t shone as brightly as we had expected this season but his endeavour so far in the match had been commendable. The penalty that he attempted was somewhere between a “Tana” and a “Chakrit”; a lazy, half-assed failure of a faint that keeper Kritchana (1) saw straight through followed by a shot so tame even a corpse could have saved it. Chainat were now sensing an upset and duly upped their game with some smart wide play; Chatchai (15) sending in a dangerous low cross across goal for Dolah (4) to clear and then bollock Nurul (31) for failing to track back. Then another cross into the box saw Worawut (36) come off his line only to misjudge the flight and allow Diouf (20) to cushion his header over to Doumbia (11) who scrambled the ball into the net, then wheeled off to celebrate in front of The Pink Rangers (who are welcome to visit us anytime at the PAT Stadium).
So 1-0 down when we should be 1-0 up and Jadet was forced to shuffle the pack with Nurul coming off, presumably injured, at half time. What followed was an inept, shapeless 35 minutes of hustle and bustle with no end product. Boskovic decided to play in several positions – anywhere apart from centre forward – with little success, and Suarez and Kim decided to be the front 2 because playing 2 midfielders up front makes perfect sense. Pakorn, Nitipong (34) and Kevin (97) all tried to make something happen but nothing seemed to work, that is until the arrival of everyone’s favourite carthorse Arthit Boodjinda (29). Suarez dinked the ball towards the Chainat goal and Arthit fouled the defender made a nuisance of himself as Kritchana smacked the clearance into Parinya (13), leaving the way clear for Arthit to foul the defender again stroke the ball into an empty net. Chainat were clearly incensed after getting shafted by VAR in the first half so decided to complain until the referee gave into his desire to not visit the hospital straight after the match and consulted the television again. Port fans waited nervously, so while we wait let’s have 3 fun football facts about our dynamic second choice centre forward:
3 Fun Football Facts about Arthit Boodjinda
- “Arthit” is Thai for “Heskey”.
- Arthit pulls up his shorts so he can be 42.7% more aerodynamic.
- Pele recently said this about Arthit: “He reminds me of a young, more elegant version of myself; the raw exuberance of youth coupled with the burning desire to win at all costs.”
After what seemed an eternity the referee gave Port the goal, and to be honest that was that; a few more attacks and crosses with no result and then it was back to The Sandpit for Leo, drums and flares. A draw seemed like a fair result especially as it feels like our team still hasn’t turned up since their enforced break and the regular failings are still present. Our team shape is a mess once substitutions are made and it’s clear that the communication from the bench to the pitch is not working and several players are having to suss out what to do with varying degrees of success. It’s too much of the same errors shown week in week out with no solution in sight.
Next up is our trickiest fixture of the remaining matches of this campaign: a midweek clash in Chiang Rai. If we play anything like our last two matches we will be on the receiving end of a sound thrashing but knowing Port we could just make a few people eat their words. The players need to realise that there is still a lot to play for and our season petering out is not an option; there is still the longshot of AFC Champions League qualification, the highest points total achieved in the top division and, most importantly, the opportunity to finish above those scumbags from Legoland.
The Sandpit Man of the Match – Elias Dolah
In a game that will be filed under ‘meh’ it was never going to be an offensive player claiming the plaudits. I’ve recently started tending to give this award to players who show heart rather than skill but Dolah’s performance was a solid combination of both, rarely putting a foot wrong and also reminding his teammates of their responsibilities on the pitch (something we have been sorely missing). Credit should also go to Nitipong, Kevin and goalscorer Arthit for their work but sadly too many players didn’t give the same amount of effort required to get the 3 points.